Refugees living in Glasgow have been invited to a book festival this weekend, which for some will mean their first visit to the Scottish countryside.
The group of about 70 women and children will travel to Wigtown Book Festival in Dumfries and Galloway on Saturday in a visit organised by the charity Open Book and the Maryhill Integration Network (MIN).
Open Book helps Glasgow-based women build up new social networks, develop their language skills, gain confidence and integrate into Scottish life.
Two events in the festival’s Big Wig children’s programme will have readings in English and Arabic with the group from 11 different countries.
The refugees, some of whom have never been outside Glasgow, have variety of backgrounds in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Nigeria, India, Ghana, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Cameroon and Egypt.
Other guests at the festival, which runs from Friday until October 6, include Kirsty Wark, Ruth Davidson, Doddie Weir and Eunice Olumide.
Remzije Sherifi, director of the Maryhill Integration Network, said: “Open Book has contributed greatly to our work with its regular sessions and meets MIN’s vision for an inclusive society where everyone is treated with dignity and respect and can live supported and connected lives.
“This visit to the Wigtown Book Festival will be very special for the women and their children in giving them the chance to enjoy a superb event and to see rural Scotland, some of them for the first time, to build their confidence and allow them to make new connections and friends.”
Marjorie Lotfi Gill, who founded the Open Book charity, added: “Our Open Book sessions at MIN are aimed at valuing the histories of the women in the group and encouraging them to develop their own voices.
“Sharing literature and poetry, and using it as inspiration for creative writing about their own experiences, can make an enormous difference.
“Having the chance to come to Wigtown will give them and their children, a chance to discover more about Scotland’s culture and to experience the magic of a live event with their families.”